South Africa will immediately strengthen the ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol to reduce the volume of trauma patients so that hospitals have more beds available to treat COVID-19 patients, said President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Faced with a spike in hospitalizations due to the coronavirus epidemic, South Africa also reinstated a night curfew to reduce traffic accidents and made it mandatory for all residents to wear face masks when they are in public.
Ramaphosa said in a national television address on Sunday that senior health officials have warned of an impending shortage of hospital beds and oxygen as South Africa reaches a peak in COVID- 19. He said that some hospitals had to refuse patients because all of their beds were full.
Ramaphosa said that since the sale and distribution of alcohol were reintroduced in June, hospitals have experienced an increase in admissions to their trauma and emergency departments.
South Africa« The rapid increase in the number of reported cases has made it one of the« s centers for COVID-19 because it is ranked as the ninth country most affected by the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University. He reported an increase of more than 10,000 confirmed cases over several days and the last daily jump was nearly 13,500.
South Africa accounts for 40% of all confirmed cases in Africa, with 276,242, an increase of 12,058 in one day. He recorded 4,079 deaths, 25 percent of which occurred in the past week, said Ramaphosa.
“While the outbreak of the infections was expected, the strength and speed at which it progressed was understandably cause for great concern,” said Ramaphosa.
« Many of us are afraid of the danger this poses for ourselves and our families.«
The nationwide curfew states that people should not be on the road between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. local time, starting on Monday.
Masks have also been declared mandatory, with all transport operators, employers and owners of businesses and buildings now legally required to ensure that everyone entering their businesses or premises wears masks.
Ramaphosa lambasted citizens who continued to have overcrowded social gatherings, including parties and funerals, saying they contributed significantly to the rapid spread of the virus.
“In the midst of our national efforts to fight this virus, there are a number of people who have gone to organization parties, who have binge drinking and some who are walking in overcrowded spaces without masks”, a he declared.
South Africa imposed one of the toughest closings in the world in April and May, including the closure of almost all mines, factories and businesses, and the banning of the sale of alcohol and cigarettes. These measures have slowed the spread of the coronavirus, but the South African economy, already in recession, has contracted dramatically, increasing unemployment above 30%.
In June, the country began to loosen restrictions to allow millions of South Africans to return to work. The relaxation of restrictions has allowed alcohol to be sold in licensed stores four days a week.
However, within a few weeks, the number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations in the country increased considerably, leading Ramaphosa to reimpose the ban on the sale of alcohol and other restrictions.
More than 30% of South Africa« The cases are found in the economic center of Gauteng province, which includes the largest city, Johannesburg, and the executive capital, Pretoria.
The tourist center, Cape Town, also has a high number of cases. Johannesburg« According to officials, the densely populated canton of Soweto has a high concentration of cases.
“We knew that with the relaxation of restrictions, the number of cases would increase. But what is surprising is the rate at which the number of cases has increased, “said Dr. Salim Abdool Karim, who is a member of the national coronavirus committee which advises. Ramaphosa.
“We can expect the number of cases and hospitalizations to increase for several weeks … By October, we may see a decrease. ”
Africa« According to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 54 countries have collectively reported 577,904 cases. The continent« s confirmed cases are concentrated in four countries: South Africa, Egypt with 81,158 cases, Nigeria with 31,987 cases and Algeria with 18,712 cases, which together represent more than 65% of the continent.« s total cases.
It is believed that the number of actual cases in Africa is much higher as the screening rate is extremely low in many countries.